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So, if you are a White Sox fan, you know they're in deep trouble right now. Unless you don't want to look — which is fair! But you probably looked, so you know about what happened Friday at Minute Maid Park.
And you're probably really mad about it.
The Astros took a two-game lead in the best-of-five ALDS after putting the Sox away 9-4 at Minute Maid Park. After a long flight home from Houston, along with a much-needed rest from having to play the Astros, the series resumes — and possibly ends — with Game 3 on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Yay, blackout!
Even if the Sox win, and win again at home the next day, they have to return to Houston for Game 5, and then win again, to keep the season going. It's been done 10 times before — think '84 Padres — but the odds are not in their favor.
No, it doesn't look good. It sure doesn't feel good. You're pissed.
So let's take a look at who you're mad at the most.
1. Lance Lynn
You're probably still mad at this guy for his performance in Game 1. He threw 76 pitches and 74 of them were fastballs of some variety; be they four-seamers, sinkers or cutters. Mostly they were screamers, stinkers and gutters. It's true that the Astros are a bad matchup for Lynn, whose ERA against them is like, 9.00, or infinity probably. But did he have to just keep feeding them their favorite snacks? It set a terrible tone for the series. Next time, try a breaking ball. Or a changeup. The knuckler! The good news is, There's still a chance that Lynn will get a second chance to make good if the Sox can extend the series. That's also bad news.
2. Tony La Russa
Players play. Managers can screw things up, but usually it's the players fault. Sox players definitely haven't played their best so far, but La Russa definitely screwed up. It was questionable of him to start Lynn in Game 1 because the Astros treat his offerings like batting practice, but why would he help them further with incoherent bullpen management? It was a bizarre decision to not use Michael Kopech in relief, at all, in either game. La Russa is maybe-possibly-probably saving Kopech for a Carlos Rodón piggyback in case he continues to pitch in a diminished capacity. Or maybe the Sox might even start Kopech instead of Rodón. Or maybe we will never see Kopech again for some kind of Yermín Mercedes reason. Down two games to the Astros, who admittedly look better than the Sox in every way, it would seem prudent to use Dylan Cease to start Game 3. That means La Russa would be saving Kopech for Gamev... 4? If the Sox fall on Sunday, and Game 4 is not necessary, will La Russa show up anyway?
If you didn't like what La Russa did by not using Kopech and it makes you mad, but hadn't heard what he said about not using Kopech, check this out:
"If we had needed him to win the game today we would have pitched him." Those words will go down in TLR comeback infamy.
There's a saying: Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. It's an ethos, sure. Well, now we can accuse TLR of worrying about today when tomorrow comes, too.
Now, the way Kopech has pitched in the second half guarantees the Sox nothing good if they used him there. While he's been unlucky analytically, he wasn't as much of a lockdown guy at the end of the regular season. But La Russa's choice to use Craig Kimbrel instead, the way he's been knocked around in innings not named the ninth, makes even less sense.
And see what La Russa said about Kimbrel:
"It's not his situation." More famous last words.
If it's La Russa's opinion that "it's not his situation," why did he bring in Kimbrel with the Sox trailing in the first place?
Do you see, Tony, how your pretzel logic is making fans thirsty for even Rick Renteria to manage the Sox? It takes so much energy to be mad at La Russa. Is that because he feeds off it in order to stay young(er)? Is he really Count La Russa?
Who else can we pissed at?
3. Jerry Reinsdorf, for hiring La Russa
The Sox got La Russa this far, but he's failing to reciprocate. Oh, well, can't fight city hall.
4. Whoever's up with runners in scoring positon
The Sox are 3-for-19 with RISP in the first two games. More like RIP, as in dead! Scoring 2.5 runs per game total won't cut it. Yasmani Grandal has stranded three of them. There's another guy some of you are mad at. Go ahead and vent. It's a shame, because Luís Robert is having a great series.
5. Craig Kimbrel
If Leury García makes that catch in right field, which he could have, we're not talking as much about Kimbrel. But he did give up a couple of rockets. Sox fans en masse seemed to love the Kimbrel trade at the time it was made. Here's a Hall of Fame (trajectory) relief pitcher, taken from the Cubs, having an All-Star season, added to a bullpen with Liam Hendriks already there. The dude is so stone cold that he didn't even realize the Cubs were throwing a combined no-hitter when Kimbrel, himself, got the final out. Ignorant, blissful, and dominant. And yet, if he comes into any inning that doesn't begin and end with the No. 9, he gets all verklempt. Unless something pretty dramatic happens in the next 72 hours, the Sox aren't going to activate his expensive contract option, and Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer will be gone forever for no good reason. Kimbrel will have been a two-way disaster: Not only did he pitch bad, but the Sox didn't use their resources for someone who doesn't give a shit what inning it is and can retire the side anyway.
Which brings us to:
6. GM Rick Hahn
He's gotten the team to the playoffs for two straight seasons, which had never happened before in club history. That's the good, and there's a lot of it. But here we are, one more misstep from the offseason, apparently still short at least one starting pitcher, plus the wrong reliever. We worried about Sox players sitting on a big division lead and losing their edge, but did Hahn do everything he could to put them over the top? Against the Guardians, Royals, Twins and Tigers — oh, my, yes. But all you need to do is look at the scoreboard to realize that, maybe, he hasn't.
Or maybe looking at the scoreboard would be... misleading. Yes, that's right, you guessed it, La Russa said something else kooky:
You know what else is misleading? La Russa as a manager is misleading the Sox into the offseason. It's true that the score seemed closer than 9-4, especially before the Astros added those extra runs against Kimbrel while Kopech sat on his tuchus.
Not only that, but perhaps we've got it all wrong about the series, and the Sox aren't really trailing two games to none. Let's check it again:
Nope. Seems pretty straightforward.